The European Commission has launched a public consultation to address the issue of how to achieve a 10% target for biofuels use in transport by 2020.

EU leaders committed to a binding minimum target for 10% biofuels at the European Council meeting in March. However, after campaigning from environmental NGOs including the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), the binding target will be subject to the condition that the production of biofuels be sustainable and that second generation biofuels become available. Second generation biofuels are obtained from non-food sources such as straw, woodchips or manure, rather than food crops such as sugar cane, corn or rapeseed.

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has stated that the advantages of biofuels “should not be offset by environmental damage through inappropriate land use or outdated production processes”.

According to, Piebalgs hopes that the present consultation will help the Commission design “a simple and practical sustainability scheme” for biofuels production. The consultation addresses the following four questions to stakeholders:

• How should a biofuel sustainability system be designed?  
• How should overall effects on land use be monitored?  
• How should the use of second-generation biofuels be encouraged?  
• What further action is needed to make it possible to achieve a 10% biofuel share?  

The consultation runs until 4 June 2007.